Paracetamol use associated with atopy development and asthma symptoms

January 01, 0001

Paracetamol use associated with atopy development and asthma symptoms

Despite reports of positive associations between paracetamol and asthma, the nature of these associations is unclear. The researchers from New Zealand investigated the associations between infant and childhood paracetamol use and atopy and allergic disease at 5-6 years. In a birth cohort study, they collected reported paracetamol exposure between birth and 15 months in Christchurch (n=505) and between 5 and 6 years for all participants (Christchurch and Wellington) (n=914). Outcome data for reported current asthma, reported wheeze and atopy (measured using skin prick tests) were collected at 6 years for all participants.

Paracetamol exposure before the age of 15 months was associated with atopy at 6 years (adjusted odds ratio, OR=3.61) Paracetamol exposure between 5 and 6 years showed dose-dependent associations with reported wheeze and current asthma but there was no association with atopy. Compared with use 0-2 times, the adjusted OR were wheeze 1.83 for use 3-10 times, and 2.30 for use greater than 10 times: current asthma 1.63 for use 3-10 times and 2.16 for use greater than 10 times: atopy 0.96 for use 3-10 times, and 1.05 for use greater than 10 times.

The researchers concluded: "Our findings suggest that paracetamol has a role in the development of atopy, and the maintenance of asthma symptoms. Before recommendations for clinical practice can be made, randomized-controlled trials are needed to determine whether these associations are causal."

As the authors hint in their conclusion, this may be association. This is unlikely to change practice.

For the full abstract, click here.

Clinical & Experimental Allergy published online 29 September 2010
© 1999-2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc
The effects of early and late paracetamol exposure on asthma and atopy: a birth cohort. K. Wickens, R. Beasley, I. Town et al for the New Zealand Asthma and Allergy Cohort Study Group. Correspondence to Kristin Wickens: [email protected]

Category: B. Blood/Blood Forming Organs/Immune Mechanisms, R. Respiratory. Keywords: allergic sensitization, asthma, children, paracetamol, wheeze, birth cohort study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 14 December 2010

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